Modeling the way is the first and arguably the strongest lesson of leadership. It is essential for every leader to be able to model the way for others. Modeling the way for others will not only make it easier for followers to follow, but it will also help to keep those followers.
Some ways to model the way are:
1. Take the initiative: It’s not always easy to take the first step, especially if it contradicts social expectations. However, change must begin from somewhere, or with someone. Taking the initiative, despite any constricting social expectations, will make it easier for others to join because they won’t be alone.
2. Set the example: It doesn’t make sense for anyone, much less a leader, to preach change while not changing him or herself. Just as no one will believe the teachings of an overweight fitness trainer, a leader who doesn’t exemplify the change they are trying to make, will not be effective.
3. Be genuine: Actions speak louder than words. When a person says one thing but actions show another, his or her credibility will be criticized. A leader’s words will match his or her actions. A leader’s character will reflect upon his or her vision.
Overall, modeling the way just means modeling the change. It’s a simple thought, but its a key component of leadership. Leaders who effectively practice modeling the way will be effective in conveying their vision to others as their character reflects their vision. They will have loyal supporters who believe in the vision and also the leader, and they will have a greater opportunity of fulfilling their vision.
--Jerry Wu, Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders' Intern
All rights reserved. Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. 2014